Kendra Little (Website | Twitter) recently presented a really good Webcast on SQL Server 2008 certification. She told us that a certificate is not the same thing as a touchdown (she didn't use those words, but it helps me get over my Super Bowl hangover).
So, what am I talking about? In American football, a touchdown is a scoring play - a positive end-result. Just like a certificate, right? Wrong!
Attaining certification should be a by-product of your training, not a goal in itself. Kendra points out that if you can emphasize what you've accomplished that led to your certificate, you'll be better off than just waving a piece of paper around (or worse).
In addition to explaining what to study, how to study and why to pursue certification, I took several good points from her presentation, specifically:
Don't necessarily focus on the topics you're worst at.
It may be easier to improve from being 'pretty good' at something to 'really good' at it, than to go from being 'really bad' to 'really good' at it.
Of course, don't ignore the stuff that you're really bad at.
Have a lab, and make sure it's available whenever you need it.
Put it on your laptop, or set it up so you can connect to it remotely. Use VM's that can be trashed, discarded and recreated easily. I usually set up one VM with the base OS, and one with a default SQL Server instance running.
After watching the presentation, I'm confident that my studying is on the right path. I plan to discuss the materials I'm using in a later post.
Thanks to everyone at Brent Ozar PLF for their Tuesday Triage Webcasts!